Knights earn split in Big East-opening weekend
Playing split weekends is something every Big East women’s soccer program deals with at least once a season. It just so happened that for Rutgers, the agenda consisted of playing at home Friday and on the road in Washington D.C., yesterday to open its conference slate.
But according to head coach Glenn Crooks, that is not where the Scarlet Knights (6-3, 1-1) went wrong in a 4-1 loss to Georgetown.
The Hoyas simply wanted it more.
“Our girls saw that [Georgetown] lost to Seton Hall [on Friday], then we scored the early goal and then does our team think they have it in the bag now? I don’t know,” Crooks said. “I do know the game changed quite a bit at that moment. It was just very, very clear that Georgetown was on a mission.”
The game-changing moment occurred in the game’s 15th minute, when junior forward April Price assisted freshman forward Stefanie Scholz to give the Knights an early 1-0 lead.
The goal not only gave Scholz her first career score, but it also marked the seventh game this season in which the Knights got on the scoreboard first.
In the six previous games in which Rutgers scored first, it exited victorious.
“I just think it came down to them wanting it a little bit more,” Scholz said. “I got my goal and I think they just came out a little bit harder then.”
After Scholz gave Rutgers the lead, the Hoyas’ unrelenting attack began, as Georgetown recorded 18 of its total 22 shots following the Knights’ only goal. The pressure resulted in four unanswered goals — in the 20th, 54th, 76th and 83rd minutes — and the Hoyas’ first Big East victory of the season.
“It is tough,” said junior back Shannon Woeller, who played all 90 minutes against the Hoyas. “The Big East is such a tough conference, and we need to get used to the physicalness and get used to having to dig down deep.”
To the Knights’ credit, they played without sophomore forward Jonelle Filigno, who injured her Achilles after scoring the first goal in a 2-1 win against Villanova and sat as a precaution yesterday on the road.
Filigno leads Rutgers with six goals on the season and accounts for 34 of the team’s 105 shots.
“Anytime you don’t have your full arsenal, whether it’s Jonelle or whoever it might be, then there’s a chance you won’t be quite as effective,” Crooks said. “But did that make the difference in the match? I don’t know if I can say that.”
Whether Filigno’s presence could have impacted the game’s result is not certain, but the Knights’ lack of production offensively could relate to the Mississauga, Canada, native’s absence. Rutgers recorded only six shots — three on goal — and earned two corner kicks in the nation’s capital.
With no timeline set for Filigno’s return and no sure way of gauging the team’s morale, the Knights have no choice but to return to Piscataway and get back to work before continuing their Big East schedule.
Crooks gave plenty of praise to Georgetown for the intensity it exuded yesterday, and there is no denying it warranted it given the Hoyas’ effort.
But Crooks will look for his own team to accumulate some of that hunger throughout the week, because the Knights cannot afford to let the loss be a setback, he said.
“We’ll be fine for next weekend — that’s what we’re all about,” Crooks said. “We’re not going to let something like this destroy them or get them down because it can’t. There are reasons for everything.”